In any fight or disagreement, there’s a disconnection. Somewhere among the words and actions being tossed about, there’s at least a little misunderstanding which acts as the catalyst. This is true for large wars and petty fights between children.
I’m sure we can all remember a time where we were yelled at by an adult as a child for something we didn’t understand. Maybe it was the adult who didn’t understand and what we remember is a sense of injustice.
That’s where this poem comes from. Inspired by frustrations between my parents and myself, it describes that feeling of injustice. This poem was written on October 16th, 2004. I was 14-years-old and a freshman in high school.
Until I Get Away
There will always be you
There will always be me
But are we a family?
is it just me?
Is it just you?
Is it just something I’ve forgotten to do?
Maybe I’m just blind
Maybe I’ve lost my mind
Is it my teenage personality?
Every night I go to bed
saying “it isn’t me.”
Yes, I see it; we’re a family
I trust you and you trust me
Is this all that we need?
I’m confused and you’re disappointed
You’re mad but we’re not fighting
We see things differently, that’s all
I will never see your way
so, for today, I’ll take it
Until I get away
This is one of those poems I fear publishing because I worry the impression will be that it’s written by a petty, ignorant teenager. When I was in high school the realities of stress and depression were often self-medicated with drug use, sexual promiscuity and suicide. A teenagers feelings, no matter how ridiculous and small compared to the rest of the world are still a reality for them.They’re validated and deserve to be taken seriously. They have no way of knowing how petty their worries are because they’ve never experienced the world beyond high school.
The first section of this poem asks if two people who seem so opposite can actually be considered a family. This was probably born out of a frustrating argument with my parents where I felt misunderstood. Of course we are a family. Being different from each other, no matter how extreme those differences may seem sometimes, can’t erase that fact. In that moment, I had to wonder. I think I imagined I would fit in with my family more easily if I was different, if I liked sports instead of video games, for example, or American landmarks instead of world travel.
This is a ridiculous concept, which I immediately realize in the next section, declaring, “it isn’t me.” That is to say, being me did not make me any more or less a part of the family. I wonder again if being a teenager has plagued me like some horrible illness, making me act in a way I otherwise wouldn’t. Honestly, I fell like adults throw the “you’re just being a teenager” card around too much. That phrase alone seems to discredit any feeling or opinion a teenager may have. No wonder teens are often depicted as angry, frustrated individuals.
This poem does not provide a real answer to the questions of family and teenage personalities. Instead, it comes to a conclusion these frustrations would be less, or at least less intense, if I wasn’t around so often. When I say “until I get away,” I’m talking about college. I understood that such an experience would give me the freedom to be exactly who I wanted to be without frustrating my parents. It also meant that when I did seem my parents, our interaction would be different. I’d be more independent and have more life experience. Just like that, my opinions and actions wouldn’t appear quite as ignorant as they did before.
Such a transition didn’t happen overnight, but here in Chicagoland, I can say I have a great relationship with my Iowan parents. The distance can be hard sometimes, but I think it also makes us closer in a way. It has helped them realize I am a responsible adult. Much of that ignorance they saw in me as a teenager is gone.
How often did you fight with your parents as a teenager? Did you ever imagine you’re parents’ life could be easier if they had a child other than you? Do you think the petty feelings of teenagers deserve more respect that we currently give?